Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: January 8, 2013
I started Doomed with high hopes. Judging by the summary, it had everything I love in a book - a potential apocalypse, a strong female protagonist, hot guys, family drama, and a Greek mythology connection. Unfortunately, all the different elements of the story came together in a way that ultimately didn't really work for me.
Perhaps the biggest problem was that I felt disconnected through the entire plot. The main character, Pandora, never quite felt real to me. Although the author described what she looked like multiple times, I couldn't picture her as I read the book. I didn't find myself relating to her or caring about her problems for the first third of the novel; and even when the action picked up, I just wasn't as emotionally invested as I had expected to be.
One of the things I'd been most excited to read about was how the digital connection would fit with the Greek mythology aspect of the story, but that also disappointed me. When it did show up, it seemed contrived and forced - like a good excuse to add the "Pandora's Box" angle into the tale instead of actually moving the story along. However, one thing I really did enjoy was how Tracy Deebs managed to make Pandora playing the game and Pandora's real life adventures equally interesting. Unfortunately, most of Pandora's real life adventures involved a whole lot of her love interests, and...well...that didn't work for me either.
One of my biggest pet peeves (and one of the biggest tropes) in YA literature these days is the inclusion of the obligatory love triangle. When both boys in the love triangle are in the same family, well...let's just say there were times when I actually glared down at my iPhone (I read this on my Kindle app) and shook my head. Yes, Theo and Eli were solid, likable characters on their own. No, I didn't really buy some of the stuff they did. And yes, I saw the contrived resolution to the triangle coming a mile away.
Despite these problems, however, I was still mostly enjoying the book's fast-paced action and the author's awesome depiction of a world teetering on the brink of apocalypse...right up until the abrupt, anti-climactic ending. I don't think Tracy Deebs intends to write a sequel to this, which makes the way she cut things off even worse. Very little is resolved, and the questions that are answered are ones the readers could've guessed at hundreds of pages ago.
In the end, I walked away from Doomed with the feeling that Tracy Deebs simply couldn't handle the scope of all the plot elements she had placed in the story - and therefore didn't do a great job with any of them. While the writing was solid, this story was definitely more of a miss than a hit.